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Global Pneumococcal Disease and Vaccine

Global disease

Based on available data, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that Streptococcus pneumoniae kills close to one million children under 5 years of age worldwide every year and most of these are in developing countries. See WHO's burden of pneumococcal disease globally.

A substantial reduction in invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumonia has been seen in countries that have introduced conjugate vaccines. In January 2010 Bill and Melinda Gates announced that their foundation will commit $10 billion over the next 10 years to help research, develop and deliver vaccines for the world's poorest countries. The Gateses said that increased investment in vaccines by governments and the private sector could help developing countries dramatically reduce child mortality by the end of the decade. Read the complete press release from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Pneumococcal Vaccines in Developing Countries

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine recommendations for developing countries [16 pages]
    The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) that advises WHO on vaccines recommends the use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in developing countries and that high mortality countries are prioritized. Currently pneumococcal vaccine is mostly used in the routine immunization programs of developed countries, although a few developing countries such as Rwanda have recently started to use it.
  • WHO position paper concerning the use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in young children [12 pages]
  • MMWR report: Progress in Introduction of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine - Worldwide, 2000-2012. MMWR, April 26, 2013/62(16);308-11.
  • Advance market commitment
    A US $1.5-billion pilot program is expected to save 5.4 million lives, protecting children from pneumonia, meningitis by speeding up the development and availability of new vaccines including pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Resources for vaccine support
    The GAVI Alliance is a partnership that combines public and private sector resources to bring the benefits of immunization to children in greatest need. They have committed funding for pneumococcal vaccines and, as of January 2009, 11 countries have qualified for support.
  • PneumoADIP and the Accelerated Vaccine Introduction (AVI) Initiative PneumoADIP works to improve child survival and health by accelerating the evaluation of, and access to, new lifesaving pneumococcal vaccines for the world's children through partnerships with countries, donors, academia, international organizations and industry. In 2009, the Accelerated Vaccine Introduction (AVI) Initiative, a consortium of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, PATH, and CDC, was started to continue the acceleration of pneumococcal vaccine use for the world’s poorest children, along with other new and underutilized vaccines such as rotavirus vaccine.


  • UNICEF, World Health Organization. Integrated Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia Diarrhoea. 2013.
  • World Health Organization. Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020. 2012.
  • Levine OS, O'Brien KL, Knoll M, et al. Pneumococcal vaccination in developing countries. 2006, Lancet; 367:1880-82.
  • O’Brien KL, Wolfson LJ, Watt JP, Henkle E, Deloria-Knoll M, McCall N, Lee E, Mulholland K, Levine OS, Cherian T, for the Hib and Pneumococcal Global Burden of Disease Study Team. The global burden of disease due to Streptococcus pneumoniae in children less than 5 years of age. 2009, Lancet; 374:893–902.
  • Sinha A, Levine O, Knoll MD, MuhibF, Lieu TA. Cost-effectiveness of pneumococcal conjugate vaccination in the prevention of child mortality: an international economic analysis. 2007 Lancet; 369:389–96.

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Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Use in Industrialized Countries

Use of PCV is expanding in industrialized countries.

  • PCV in the Americas
    PCV is in the routine immunization schedule in the US and Canada where it has been shown to be highly effective. In many other countries in the Americas, PCV is available in the private sector or for high risk groups through the public sector. However, many countries are interested in introducing the vaccine into their national immunization schedules.
  • Garcia S, Levine OS, Cherian T, Gabastou JM, Andrus J, and the Working Group Members. Pneumococcal disease and vaccination in the Americas: an agenda for accelerated vaccine introduction. 2006, Pan Am J Public Health; 19(5):340-48.

  • PCV in Europe
    Efforts are underway to build and strengthen European surveillance systems to allow countries to make informed decisions regarding the introduction of new pneumococcal vaccines and also to monitor and compare the impact and effectiveness of new programs. PCV vaccines are used widely in high risk groups, but many countries are beginning to introduce PCV into their routine immunization schedules.

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